EXAMINER Subjects & Sites

A central goal of the EXAMINER project was to develop a battery that could reliably and validly assess executive functions across a wide range of ages and disorders. Data collection targets were established with this goal in mind by the EXAMINER advisory panel, NINDS focus groups, NINDS Project Officer, and the UCSF team. Piloting and ongoing data collection were conducted utilizing the large research infrastructure at UCSF and in collaboration with nine remote sites to represent a full range of geographic regions, ethnic groups, age groups, and diagnostic disorders.

Subject Enrollment

General Inclusion Criteria

All participants were ages 3–90 years old and spoke fluent English and/or Spanish. Participants assessed included normal controls and subjects with one of the following neurological conditions or neurodegenerative disorders:

  • Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
  • Focal lesions
  • Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD)
  • Huntington’s disease (HD)
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Amnestic and executive subtypes (MCI-exec)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease (PD)
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
  • Sickle-cell anemia
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Very low birth weight (VLBW)

General Exclusion Criteria

Participants were excluded if they had the following:

  • Current alcohol abuse or dependence
  • Current drug abuse
  • Psychiatric disorder (apart from those specified in diagnostic groups of interest)
  • B12 deficiency or another metabolic syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism (i.e., TSH>150% of normal)
  • Known HIV
  • Renal failure
  • Respiratory failure (i.e., requiring oxygen)
  • Significant systemic medical illnesses (e.g., deteriorating cardiovascular disease)
  • Current medication likely to affect CNS functions (e.g., benzodiazepines, antidepressants, lithium, and/or neuroleptics in the phenothiazine and haloperidol families)

Participating Sites

Ten nationwide sites completed the field tests:

  1. The Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco
    (PI: Joel Kramer, PsyD)
  2. Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Neurology
    (PI: Celiane Rey-Casserly, PhD)
  3. Case Western Reserve University Rainbow Hospital
    (PI: H. Gerry Taylor, PhD)
  4. The Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    (PI: Kimberly Espy, PhD)
  5. The Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
    (PI: Glenn Smith, PhD)
  6. The University of California, Berkeley’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
    (PI: Robert Knight, MD)
  7. The University of California, Davis Department of Neurology
    (PI: Dan Mungas, PhD) ensured psychometric validity between the English and Spanish language instruments
  8. The University of Iowa
    (PI: Daniel Tranel, PhD)
  9. The University of South Carolina Neuropsychology and Human Development Lab
    (PI: Jeffrey Schatz, PhD)
  10. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    (PI: Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, PhD)